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So what are the guidelines for submitting news?

Okay, so I sent out a news piece yesterday morning to promote the fact that a popular blogger who's previous collaboration with me had been well received was again sitting in the writer's seat for this week's update of my strip. Not earth shattering news by any means, but I figured it was no more fluffy than hearing that somebody had posted a really huge JPEG on Sinfest.

As it is, another site picked up the story totally unsolicited I saw from my referring logs that an admin from this site had checked out mine. When nothing happened by dinner time, I sent Xavier a polite email asking if there were any problems with my news submission. I still haven't received a reply. I'm not for a minute suggesting that the people who own this site don't have every right to pick and choose what news articles get posted.It would just be helpful to let people know if certain kinds of submissions are inappropriate.

Helpful Tips on Posting News

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

Steve,

Good questions. (incl. your email) I post by far the majority of news items on the site (so my answers are generally "right" although there are several others authorized to post news and they may deviate from this to some extent). First it is an editorial decision - we don't want to play favorites and we definitely view part of our mission to bring attention to new comics and new artists but at the same time I want to present an interesting front page everyday. That means picking the most interesting mix of stories each day (and generally trying not to overload the front page each day so that readers don't miss stories). So far we have more stories to pick from at the beginning of the week and we have to work a little harder towards the end of the week (in other words some borderline items get held simply because they're not a top story on Monday but if nothing's happening on Wednesday than its a good story to post)

All of the above are goals - the real world is that I am often too busy during the day to do a perfect job with picking the best stories to post each day - some days I post less b/c of time restraints and other days I just say to hell with it and post everything that's been submitted. Still I think all the news editors strive to use their good judgment 99% of the time. Now here's some practical tips to get me (and all Comixpedia staff) useful posts that will definitely increase your chances of getting posted on the front page --

1. Write good copy in the piece. Make it tight, interesting, funny if possible. Give me a good headline. If you give me an interesting piece of news but poorly write it up my inclination is to fix it. Which may mean it gets delayed a day so I have time to fix it that night.

2. Include URLs in the item as links and not as non-clickable text (in other words write < a href = the URL > LINK </a> and not just www.link.com. Readers like to click - don't make me rewrite your URLS for you. (We use HTML on the front page not the Message Board bracket stuff)

3. Do not include images (generally) but if you do include them in the expanded text section. I'm not going to put them on the front page b/c I can't guarantee your server will hold up to our readership. If its in the expanded text section at least only those clicking read more will have to wait if your server is slow.

4. Make sure you put the most newsworthy spin on your item. Let's take your news item as an example (it's up now btw!) You did a good job of trying to put something extra on a special one-shot comic on your site. The hold-up was mostly that I've never heard of Treacher so the description of him (star, well-known blogger) smells a little like hyperbole to me. Which is important b/c I'm trying to judge the level of interest to the readership. He's #228 on TTLB's blogging rankings so he's not that well known even in the blogging world - it's unlikely that he's going to be well know to the webcomic world. So I've got to rewrite your piece a bit and I'm also not entirely convinced of its newsworthiness because now it sounds like a comic you simply got a guest writer for. Not that I'm not inclined to post it at all - expecially since you're not someone we've posted much (any?) about before, it's just more of a borderline case now. BTW the sinfest item was also a borderline case and went up quicker probably b/c there were no facts to check out (unlike investigating Treacher's status) and Sinfest is a very well-known comic. I'm not interested in turning the site into the Sinfest/PVP/Sluggy all-the-time news source but still there are a lot of people interested in news about well-known comics and creators. Ultimately we try to strive for balance.

5. Some definite don'ts: Don't submit bland "here's my latest update to so-and-so comic" (especially if you don't even bother to write some good text about the actual update itself) or bland "I've started a comic and I've got 2 panels posted on the web" or bland anything for that matter. If you really are new or just starting out submit a (try to make it catchy) brief 2 or 3 sentence blurb with the ROOKIES icon and most likely come Thursday or Friday you'll get posted on the front page.

Well that actually turned out to be quite long - probably should go in the FAQ. Hope that helps. I think everyone who works on Comixpedia strives to be fair. We're all generally interested in promotion of webcomics as an artform and of the community around them. We also try hard to listen to questions like this.

X

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Good points Xavier, and

Good points Xavier, and including them in the FAQ is probably a good idea. (Especially because you've already had to do all this typing!) I may have been laying it on a little thick about Jim, but if he's not a well known Blogger yet, he's in a lot of well known Blogger's link lists. Even at #228, he seems to pull in a pretty big audience. (If referring hits are any indicator) He's probably more familiar to people who frequent the Comic Journal and (Of course) Comicon message boards. (I probably should have brought up the boardkiller uberthread.) Right now I'm getting a minor slashdot effect as his involvement has brought attention from other blogs and is hopefully bringing in more readers who are new to webcomics. Any way, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions and I will keep all these things in mind when submitting future news.

P.S. That was me, all

P.S. That was me, all unlogged and whatnot.

[url=http://www.acidkeg.com/][img]http://www.acidkeg.com/akbanner.gif[/img][/url]

Finally added that post to

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

Finally added that post to the FAQ. We still don't get A LOT of news stories from our readers - does anyone want to throw out some suggestions on how to motivate readers and creators to send us items of interest to our readership?

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Maybe you can let them know

Maybe you can let them know that they can promote his wecomic that way (as I did once, although my text didn't seem to be catchy enough for much people to click... (U^=^) )

WHAT!?

The William G's picture

Don't submit bland "here's my latest update to so-and-so comic"

I do this all the time in the blog. And though I dont get to the front page (I dont expect to, really) I do get some traffic from it.

Or is this a different function all together? Cuz I thought the blogs were the new way of doing this.
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The William G - Romantic Drama, Post-Apocalyptic Monsters, and More Comic Experimentation


Me too. That's exactly how

Me too. That's exactly how I see the purpose of the blog. If anything gets promoted to the front page (and it did once :-)) that's a bonus but I don't necessarily expect it to.

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Website: www.brokenvoice.co.uk
Contact: edit_bvc@yahoo.co.uk

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Helpful Feedback

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

It's good to know that the blogs are getting read.  I think it's still a work in progress to sort out what to promote to the front page but I do think that members having the ability to post blogs vs the old system of "submitting news" (and waiting for an editor to review) is an improvement.

 

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Xaviar Xerexes 

I am a Modern Major Generality.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

What is the system now actually?

harknell's picture

Actually, I was curious as to how one actually suggests news articles now. On the old site you had the "suggest news" link (or something worded like that). There doesn't seem to be anything like that now. Do you guys simply scan the new blog posts and pick and choose from them? Or is there something a bit more active we blog posters can do to make it more obvious we'd like a news posting on our entry?

Scan Blogs

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

Basically right now we're scanning the blog entries for what to promote to the front page.  So I would advise posting a blog entry first.

That could change if the volume of blog posts picks up but right now it's been a manageable process. 

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Xaviar Xerexes 

I am a Modern Major Generality.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Still Good Advice For Posting Something to Comixpedia

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

Now that we've moved to a blog (and promote to front page) system this may need to be tweaked a bit but it's probably still useful.

(Note to self- add this to new FAQ) 

 

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Xaviar Xerexes 

I am a Modern Major Generality.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.